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Uninsured looking for possible diagnosis

BACKSTORY
In 2012 I was working in a bar. Part of that job involved flipping chairs and mopping. during this time I noticed a pain in my chest, (lower left lateral chest) that felt as though I pulled a muscle. This was in March. In November 2012 the pain had still not stopped. Here I should tell you that I am a heavy smoker (pack a day). Anyways towards the end of the month I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I had a heart attack. I rushed to the hospital where I found out that I DIDN'T have a heart attack. I had Pneumonia, and I had it for a long time.After further testing I found out I had an Empyema (Not sure if the word is right, but it was described to me as a series of cyst on my left lung, and scar tissue build up). This was to go along with a horrible very painful case of pneumonia that almost killed me.
TREATMENT FOR PREVIOUS RELATED ISSUE
I was subsequently hospitalized for three weeks. I got to get double chest tubes and surgery to remove the scar tissue, as well as the cyst, and to my surprise when I woke up, a small portion of my left lung. It was horrible and I had a  bad go at it for a while. It has taken me a long time to feel better. Now, I wonder am I better?
LAGGING SYMPTOM
See, in about September of 2012 I started to do this thing. It was like a very deep breath that brought on a sharp stabbing pain to the lower left part of my chest. Now I want to make clear that at that time I was very raspy and even coughing up phlegm. I had a cough, and I was even told I looked sickly. After my hospital stay, the rasping, and rough breathing stopped. I felt better, and like a moron I didn't quit smoking. Anyways, this involuntary deep breath that disrupts normal breathing patterns followed by a sharp stabbing pain continued. My follow up care simply said it was from the swelling in my chest pushing on my diaphragm and irritating it. With time this symptom would disappear.  
THE PROBLEM
That sharp stabbing involuntary breath has never left since September of 2012. Now, the pain went away for a while and it wasn't happening much. By that I mean it was happening maybe half a dozen times a week, and it became fairly tolerable. However over the last month or two it has came back with a vengeance. And I am not raspy, not coughing more then average my share of phlegm for being a pack a day, ( maybe less) smoker. However, I will be standing in my kitchen and "bam" !!! With a disruption of my normal breathing I will suck in a deep breath with extreme stabbing pain on my left lower ribs that will put me on the floor in less then a second. This is happening a half dozen times a day. Does anyone have any clue what is wrong with me?
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thank you
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Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi, as you have continued to smoke there could be progressive damage to the lungs and your symptoms could be due to chronic bronchitis. Therapy for which is actually a combined approach. The first step would be to quit smoking, to prevent further damage to the lungs. And also immediately on cessation of smoking you will not see any improvement. If there is bronchospasm, this can be relieved by bronchodilators. To improve lung function practice breathing exercises. If the oxygenation is inadequate, supplemental oxygen therapy may be needed. Any infection of the lungs, need to be tackled immediately. Please discuss this with your doctor am sure he will provide further assistance. Regards.
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